Islamabad: August 26, 2016


Honorable Ministers of SAARC member states, Secretary General SAARC, Secretaries of SAARC countries, Distinguish guests, Ladies and Gentlemen!

It is my pleasure to welcome the honorable Ministers; Delegates from the SAARC member states, Secretary General of SAARC and other distinguish guests to the 8th meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers in Islamabad. I hope that the distinguish guests are enjoying their stay in the city.

            Excellences! Three decades ago the south Asian leadership made a commitment to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development of our region. Promoting the welfare and improving the quality of life of the people of south Asia was the key idea behind this thinking. The increasing interdependence and the notion of shared goals and common concerns were the genesis of the south Asian association of region cooperation. By realizing the commitment of the leaders enshrined in SAARC charter we can all progress and bring economic stability and prosperity including social uplifts for our generations.

            Ladies and Gentlemen! In this era of globalization the world’s focus is on finding regional solutions to common problems for the economic and social progress of the masses. Increasing connectivity, ease in communication, freer trade and finding solutions to hunger, poverty and foods in security have helped the world to enhance regional and sub-regional cooperation. The trans-boundary effects of climate change, spread of diseases, economic spillover and social evils are being countered by joint strategies at the regional level. The interdependence calls for an ever greater cohesion among the SAARC member states. South Asia is a region of vast opportunities endowed with abundant human and natural resources. It is home to one fifth of the humanity and has a rich civilization. Its untapped wealth and underutilized resources provide opportunities for development and prosperity of region to optimally harness this potential for the peace and prosperity of our people. SAARC provides a platform to collectively work for making the region free of economical strengths and social ills.

            Excellences! Pakistan believes there are SAARC solutions to our regional issues by fully supporting all initiatives taken at the SAARC platform, its ideals and objectives as enshrined in its charter, the social charter and the developmental goals will be the way forward. Pakistan has also been a strong advocate for stepping up regional efforts to ensure energy security through sharing of indigenous sources of energy. Pakistan shares the perspectives that connectivity is critical to the progress and prosperity of the region and supports in principle the road, air, rail and water connectivity with the region. We believe that SAARC must position itself to engage interested states and international organizations to develop win-win complementarities for social and economic progress in the region.

            Ladies and Gentlemen! Pakistan has made good progress in bringing economic stability in the country. Our government is continuing with reforms agenda for strengthening the legal regulatory and supervisory of its frame work aimed at safeguarding stability of the national economy. Time bound measures to implement the reforms strategy for ease of doing business, inflow of foreign direct investments and upgrading of ratings by international financial institutions has brought back the national economy on track. Performance of the banking sector is also steady with higher earnings and robust solvency. The trickledown effect of micro-economic stability is benefiting the masses.

            Excellency! Pakistan is ready to contribute to fulfilling the hope and aspiration of the people of our region. We believe that despite numerous challenges, SAARC has made commendable progress in promoting greater regional integration in south Asia to make the organization more efficient, practical and responsive to the expectations of our people, all of us SAARC members states, the SAARC Secretariat and its regional centers and specialized bodies need to make coordinated, sustained and resolute efforts. Today’s deliberations, dear guests I am confident will give force to our overall efforts to make the South Asian Economic Union a reality. Your valuable recommendations on a range of areas like customs cooperation, avoidance of double taxation, the current status of economic and financial cooperation in the region including the overall outlook of the SAARC Economies. An impact of global economic situations in the South Asia region will definitely provide more meaning to the SAARC economies. The outcome of this meeting will complement the agenda of the 19th SAARC summit, which we are looking forward to hosting in Islamabad on the 9th and 10th of November this year. Let me reiterate distinguished ladies and gentlemen that Pakistan remains committed to jointly working with the National Governments of the SAARC member states in changing the economic landscape of the South Asian region to get our peoples out of the clutches of poverty, illiteracy and other social ills. In the end I must congratulate the delegates of SAARC Finance Secretaries meeting for successfully holding the meeting and forwarding their valuable recommendations for the Ministers meeting.  Their proposals and suggestions will surely facilitate the ministers to formulate solid recommendations to be presented to the upcoming summit. Let me extend once again a very warm welcome to your excellences and other distinguished delegates to Pakistan and hope that you would enjoy your stay in Islamabad.


Thank you